Aga-Buriat National Okrug
Aga-Buriat National Okrug
part of Chita Oblast, RSFSR. Founded Sept. 26, 1937. Area, 19,000 sq km. Population in 1968, 62,000. Three administrative raions. Center, the urban-type settlement of Aginskoe.
The Aga-Buriat National Okrug is situated in southeast Transbaikalia. The topography is basically mountainous. The parallel flat-crested Daurian and Mogoitui ranges, and the southeastern slopes of the Cherskii Range, stretch from the southwest to the northeast. The highest point in the okrug is Mount Alkhanai (1,663 m). In the south lies the Onon River plain with its rolling hillocks, which reach heights of 700–800 m. The climate is sharply continental: summers are hot, with average temperatures in July ranging from 16°C in the west to 20°C in the southeast; winters are cold and sunny, with little snow, average temperatures in January ranging from –22°C to –26°C. Annual precipitation averages 500 mm in the west and 300 mm in the southeast. The snow cover is 3–6 cm. Spring and early summer are the drought seasons. The growing season lasts from 90 days in the west to 150 days in the east. The rivers are shallow. The eastern and southern boundaries of the okrug are formed by the Onon River; its tributaries, the Ilia and the Aga, bisect the okrug. There are many small lakes in the south. The western mountain areas have gray forest and frozen taiga podzolized soils. The plains are chestnut calcareous and chernozem soils. The lowland vegetation is steppelike. The steppes are covered with sedge, feather grasses, and sage or solonets vegetation; tansy and a variety of grasses grow on the slopes. Forests cover 30 percent of the okrug’s area, growing on the northern slopes of the ranges and on the mountains at an altitude above 1,000–1,100 m. Daliurian larch forests predominate, with an admixture of pine, birch, and aspen. The okrug’s total wood reserve is 45 million cubic meters.
Population. Buriats are indigenous to the region; Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, and others have moved there. Average density is 3.3 people per square kilometer. The most settled areas are along the route of the railroad and the Aga River basin. In the west there are 1.5 people per square kilometer. The nomadic Buriats have settled down under Soviet power. Eighty-one percent of the population is rural. There are two urban-type settlements in the okrug: Aginskoe and Mogoitui, which is an important transfer point for the okrug’s railroad shipments.
Economy. Agriculture is important in the okrug’s economy. Steppe pastures and hayfields take up two-fifths of the okrug’s territory. They are used for grazing fine-wooled sheep and for herding horses; camels are bred in the south. Animals are raised for meat and dairy production. On Jan. 1, 1968, the okrug’s single sovkhoz and 25 kolkhozes had 50,700 head of cattle, 804,000 sheep, 1,900 pigs, 10,400 horses, and 1,100 camels. Approximately 180,000 hectares are now used for growing cereals (spring wheat, oats, and barley) and feed, while before the revolution the cultivated areas totaled only 189 hectares.
Industry is primarily related to the processing of local agricultural raw materials. In the west 100,000 cubic meters of timber are processed annually. Ara-Ilia, Dul’durga, and Aginskoe are forestry centers. The largest new project is the Orlovskii concentrating mill combine (tantalum).
The railroad runs across the eastern section of the okrug. A highway passes through Argala, Aginskoe, Mogoitui, and Tsugol. In the west Darasun, Dul’durga, and Khapcheranga are connected by a highway. The total length of the okrug’s automobile roads is 970 km, of which 300 km are paved.
Cultural development. Literature in the Buriat language has developed under Soviet power. During the 1967–68 school year there were 17,400 students in general education schools and over 300 in the Aginskoe Pedagogical Institute. There are 40 general libraries, 50 clubs, and more than 50 film projection units. The okrug newspapers, both called Aga pravda, areAgyn unen in Buriat and Aginskaia pravda in Russian; they were founded in 1930.